Being and Becoming

I have borrowed these words from Nancy Stewart who is a champion of young children as ‘be-ers and becomers’. She has reminded educators to celebrate children for who they are now as well as helping them to be ready for future school years.   Whilst early childhood involves a huge amount of change and growth, I see times of transition and growth as an adult when I am both a be-er and becomer. I wonder if you recognise these times in your life, too?

I have been preparing for the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show in Manchester for some time, and last week saw me arriving in the car park with a car packed full of artwork, a large driftwood branch, some scratty feathers, enough teabag paper to make the whole of Denmark a brew and several packs of emergency Freddos. It took a little while to feel settled into my space for the next few days, but it was slowly transformed into something I felt pleased with.

The next few days were just such a wonderful time – folk who stopped to talk about work or the samples that I was demonstrating were delightful. Most of my junior school reports contained the phrase ‘Rachael would do better if she stopped talking so much’. Well, I didn’t stop talking for hours on end and loved every minute. Ha, ha! If I met you there, thank you for taking the time to visit and chat. This was a real time of being and becoming for me.   

I also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to talk to other exhibitors and demonstrators. I learned so much about their inspirational practice and business organisation. I do just have to mention the meal a colleague and I had one evening where the waiters kept clearing everything away before we had finished, including the tablecloth. We could have understood a little more if we weren’t practically the only ones in the restaurant. My companion rightly pointed out that you can judge an establishment by the quality of the mint you are offered at the end. It was conspicuous by its absence. However, a glass pot of Mint Imperials was noticed upon exit and following a hasty dive to retrieve a couple on principle, we went off into the evening rather bemused.
Half way through the show, my daughter disobeyed strict instructions not to give birth whilst I was away. From Friday afternoon, baby was busy with her own becoming and my head was just turned to mush. Thank goodness for the modern miracle of texting! My work never even caught a sniff of bubble wrap at the finish of the show on Saturday as it was hastily packed into the car. Zoe Isabella arrived an hour after I got home, weighing 5lbs 3 and perfect.. So I have become a grandma! 

I am still working on my pod vessels for a group exhibition in May. Most of my ideas will have to stay just that, but I would like to try a large one using a combination of burnt metal cloth and paper. Sometimes my desire to see if something is possible renders me helpless! I think I have recognised that I will never be someone who can remain still for very long – as a ‘be-er’ I am a ‘do-er’ and always will be.  I shall not be able to avoid a little tinkering and if I haven’t burnt my fingers or the kitchen down, I shall report in with my experiments in a couple of months.   But it’s time to make space and breathe in the new things in my life just at the moment. 

Finally, I thought this was something lovely to leave you with from John O’Donohue, along with my favourite view at home:

‘There is a quiet light that shines in every heart. It draws no attention to itself though it is always secretly there. It is what illuminates our minds to see beauty, our desire to seek possibility and our hearts to love life. Without this subtle quickening our days would be empty and wearisome, and no horizon would ever awaken our longing. Our passion for life is quietly sustained from somewhere in us that is wedded to the energy and excitement of life. This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing’